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RECIPE: Caramelized Onion & Apple Galette

This is such a nice fall recipe, we’ve made it several times—and we’re just a few weeks into fall.

Savory and sweet combine in this galette: caramelized onions and apples.

A galette (gah-LET) is a rustic, round, open-face pie, made without a pie pan. It is flat, with a turned-up crust that wraps around the filling to create a “dough pan.”

Called crostata in Italian and rustic pie or rustic tart in English, the concept hails from the days before people had pie plates, and the days after that when only the kitchens of the wealthy had them.

The precursor of the galette probably dates from the Neolithic Age, now called the New Stone Age, which lasted from about 10,200 B.C.E. to between 4,500 and 2,000 B.C.E. Thick cereal pastes—barley, oats, rye, wheat—were sweetened with honey and spread on hot stones to cook.

This recipe comes from Good Eggs, and was inspired by Alice Waters’ onion tart recipe in The Art of Simple Food.

Good Eggs adds this tip:

To save time, take the semi-homemade route. Use ready-made pie dough for the crust. It’s the perfect base for the recipe, and you’ll still have the fun of shaping it.
 
 
RECIPE: CARAMELIZED ONION & APPLE GALETTE

Ingredients

  • 1 disk of pie dough, large enough for a 9” pie*
  • Flour for dusting
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ________________

    *If you’re using a frozen crust, it should be defrosted, but still cool.

     

    Caramelized Onion Galette
    [1] This savory-sweet galette can be served as a first course, with cocktails, or as a light lunch with a green salad. We served it for dessert with a cheese plate:a great idea (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Apples and Onions
    [2] Apples and onions make a savory-sweet pie (photo courtesy Cubit’s Organic Living).

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Heat the butter in heavy-bottomed pot, add the onions and thyme sprigs; then sauté over medium heat until the onions are caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes. Salt to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool. Meanwhile…

    2. ROLL out the chilled pie dough on a well-floured surface, into a 12- to 14-inch circle (about 1/4 inch thick). Don’t worry if your shape isn’t perfect” any irregularities just add to the homemade charm!

    3. TRANSFER the rolled-out dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let it firm up in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Spread the cooled onions over the center, picking out the thyme sprigs. Leave a good inch or two around the edge so you have ample dough to fold up around the onions.

    4. FOLD up the edges, making sure there are no holes. You can freestyle it, or you can use a pinch-and-fold method as shown in the photo. Once the galette is wrapped up, coat the folded edges with beaten egg, using a pastry brush or your fingers.

    5. BAKE for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown on the bottom. Let it cool slightly, garnish with a pinch of fresh thyme and serve warm.

      

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    HALLOWEEN RECIPE: Spider Cake

    Halloween Spider Cake
    [1] A hairy spider, ready to eat (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter).

    Chocolate Sprinkles
    [2] Chocolate sprinkles make the spider “hairy” (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    Candy Eyeballs Wilton

    [3] Wilton makes the smallest eyes we’ve found. These are from Target (photo courtesy Wilton).

     

    Along came a spider and sat down beside her—and she ate him!

    This eye-catching chocolate spider cake from Go Bold With Butter doubles as a table centerpiece and dessert.

    The ingredients are easy to find. Chocolate chocolate sticks for the spider legs and candy eyeballs can be found at kitchen specialty stores and online.

    You also use use Pocky, the Japanese chocolate-covered biscuit sticks that have good distribution at grocery stores and international markets.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 50 minutes.
     
     
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE SPIDER CAKE

    Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

    For the Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  •  
    For the Spider Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  •  
    Decorations

  • 8 small candy eyeballs
  • 1 cup chocolate sprinkles
  • 16 chocolate sticks or chocolate-covered biscuit sticks
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the frosting. Combine the heavy cream and chocolate in small microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 45 seconds and stir. Return to the microwave and heat again for 20 seconds. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes; then whisk together until smooth. Place in refrigerator to firm to spreading consistency, about 1 hour.

    2. MAKE the cake. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine first six ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk together. Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla and beat on low until combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg; beat again until well incorporated.

     
    3. LINE one well of a cupcake tin with a paper liner and fill it 2/3 full with batter (this is the spider’s head). Grease and flour 2-1/2 quart ovenproof bowl for the body (you can use stainless steel) and pour in the remaining batter. Bake the cupcake for 12-15 minutes, or until the center springs back when pressed. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Allow the cupcake and cake to cool on wire rack.

    NOTE: If you want to use the rest of the cupcake tin to bake more cupcakes, plan ahead for your batter of choice.

    4. PLACE the chocolate sprinkles in a bowl. Cut the cupcake in half and cover top portion with chocolate frosting (bonus: you get to eat the other half of the cupcake). Place 8 candy eyeballs on top of the frosting. Use a spoon to cover the cupcake with chocolate sprinkles. Gently shake off excess and set aside.

    5. PLACE the cake on a large serving platter. Cover the bowl-shaped cake with chocolate frosting, then cover frosting with chocolate sprinkles. Apply more frosting to the back side of the cupcake to attach the “head” to the “body.”

    6. GENTLY INSERT three chocolate sticks, standing upright on each side of spider body (do one side at a time). Use leftover frosting to attach a second chocolate stick, creating three sets of spider legs on each side. Insert two short chocolate stick “legs” on either side of spider head. Use frosting to attach two additional short chocolate sticks to legs, creating segmented front legs.

    7. SLICE and serve, but only once your guests have applauded the finished cake.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

    Hong Kong Egg Tarts

    Hong Kong Egg Tarts
    Fragrant and warm from the oven: Who can resist? (Photos #1 and #2 courtesy My Bare Cupboard, which has a slightly different recipe).

    Natural Hens' Eggs Colors

    [3] Where would dessert be without the incredible, edible egg? (Photo courtesy The Egg Farm.)

    Check out the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary.

    See the different types of custard in our Custard Glossary.

     

    World Egg Day was established in 1996, and is celebrated on the second Friday in October.

    Since the dawn of the hunter-gatherer, eggs have played a major role in feeding mankind around the globe. They one of nature’s highest quality, and most affordable, sources of protein.

    Since this is a global celebration, we’re featuring one of our favorite global recipes with eggs.

    No, it’s not egg drop soup (we published an egg drop soup recipe last year). It’s a favorite Cantonese dessert made with eggs: Hong Kong egg tarts.

    Walking around the streets of Hong Kong or any Chinatown elsewhere, you’ll see these popular tartlets* through the windows of bakeries.

    Whenever we hit New York City’s Chinatown for a dim sum brunch, we look forward to a dessert of Hong Kong Egg Tarts. We like them so much, we buy extras to take home.
     
     
    THE HISTORY: WHAT ARE HONG KONG EGG TARTS?

    Egg tart, dan tat in Cantonese, is sweet tart pastry crust filled with egg custard. It’s essentially fusion food, since custard was created in northern European dairying countries.

    Hong Kong egg tarts (also called Chinese egg tarts, but that’s too nonspecific a term given the variety of regional cuisines), are related to Portuguese egg tarts.

    The concept arrived in Hong Kong during the 1940s—from, some sources believe, the neighboring island of Macau, which had been colonized by the Portuguese.

    According to more likely sources, the egg tart first appeared in Guangzhou (Canton) in the 1920s [source].

    There, the local chefs, inspired by western fruit tarts, filled tart pastry with egg custard. As butter was very costly, they used lard crusts instead of making puff pastry.

    At the time, there was tough competition between department stores in Guangzhou. To attract customers, the chef of each department store would invent a new dim sum or dessert weekly; hence the initiative that produced these first Chinese egg tarts.

    A few decades later, in the 1940s and 1950s, many chefs migrated to Hong Kong and brought the recipe with them.

    Portuguese egg tarts—pasteis de nata—scents the custard with cinnamon, in a puff pastry crust. Here’s a recipe.

    Both versions taste best when freshly baked and still warmed. Even when we warm the take-out tarts we bring home from Chinatown, they’re a shade less heavenly than those we eat on the spot.

    Yet, they’re so easy to make that they can be whipped up to serve regularly at brunch, or with tea and coffee breaks.

    In fact, we’re making them both on Saturday and Sunday to serve at brunch. We’ll double the recipe but only cook half on each day.

    If you have a source for very good tart or tartlet shells, you can substitute them. The texture isn’t “Hong Kong,” but the overall taste is good.

    You can buy Clearbrook Farms’ tartlet and mini-tart shells at Sur La Table, Walmart and elsewhere. We always keep a few boxes in the pantry. You can fill them with berries, pudding, cream cheese and preserves, ice cream, etc. when you need a quick dessert or teatime treat.

     
    RECIPE: HONG KONG EGG TARTS

    This recipe was sent to us by The Incredible Egg (the American Egg Board), via All Recipes.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 9 eggs, beaten
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the confectioners’ sugar and flour in a medium bowl. Blend in the butter with a fork, until the mixture comprises small crumbs.

    2. STIR in the egg and vanilla until the mixture forms a dough. The texture should be slightly moist. Add more butter if the dough is too dry, or add more flour if the dough seems greasy.

    3. SHAPE the dough into 1-1/2 inch balls. Press the balls into fluted tartlet molds to cover the bottom, extending the dough higher than the sides of the molds. Use this technique to place the dough into one tart mold, then tamp it down with an empty mold.

    4. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F.

    5. COMBINE the white sugar and water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature.

    6. STRAIN the eggs through a sieve, and whisk into the sugar mixture. Stir in the evaporated milk and vanilla. Strain the filling through a sieve, and fill the tart shells.
    Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown, and the filling is puffed up a little bit.
     
     
    *TARTS VS. TARTLETS

    To be completely accurate:

  • “Tart” refers to a full-size, multi-portion tart.
  • Individual-size size tarts are called tartlets.
  • Bite-size versions are mini tarts.
  •  
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Halloween Cakes With Nordicware

    Add even more fun to Halloween festivities for family and friends…for party hosts…for your workplace:

    Make a Halloween cake with a NordicWare cake mold. It requires no more time and talent than pouring a cake mix batter into the mold.

    The molds are artfully embossed, creating “cake sculptures” that need no added decoration. Of course, you can add your own touches with icing, edible glitter, spider candies, etc.

    Beyond Halloween, the skull molds also work for El Dia De Los Muertos. In photo #4, one home baker created a classic decorated skull design.

    NordicWare’s Halloween cake pans include:

  • Ghost centerpiece (photo #3)
  • Haunted manor centerpiece (photo #2)
  • Skull cakelets and centerpiece (can be decorated for Dia De Los Muertos—photo #4)
  • Tombstone cakelets (photo #1)
  •  
    The pans have a nonstick finish that guarantees easy release, and a lifetime guarantee.

    There are also cookie stamps: a set that includes a black cat, pumpkin and spider.

    They’re available at many retailers including Williams-Sonoma, plus online at Amazon and NordicWare.com.

    You can use any cake recipe you like. Particularly seasonal:

  • Applesauce cake
  • Dark chocolate (for the black spooky effect—add some black food color)
  • Pumpkin Cake
  • Red velvet cake (for the “bloody” effect)
  • Spice cake
  • White cake for ghosts and skulls
  •  
    But sure, go for the brownie batter, the chocolate ghost with white icing, or other family favorite.
     
    ADD A SAUCE

    You can add a sauce for a more elaborate dessert:

  • Bourbon or rum sauce
  • Caramel sauce with scotch
  • Crème anglaise
  • Hard sauce
  • Sabayon, the French version of zabaglione sauce
  •  
    The best approach is to put the sauce on the plate first, then set the cake on top of it. You won’t cover up the design elements.

    Have fun with it!
     
     
    MORE USES FOR THE CAKE PANS

    Use the cake pans to mold other foods:

  • Custard
  • Dips and spreads
  • Gelatin
  • Ice cream
  • Pudding
  •  

    Tombstone Cake Nordicware Halloween
    [1] Tombstone cakelets, individual portions (photo courtesy NordicWare).

    Haunted House Cake - Nordicware
    [2] Haunted mamor centerpiece (photo courtesy NordicWare).

    Ghost Cake Nordicware
    [3] A ghost centerpiece (photo courtesy Nordicware).

    Skull Cakes Nordicware

    [4] Skull cakelets, decorated for El Dia De Los Muertos (photo by Nozomi | Williams-Sonoma upload.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Pumpkin Cheese Danish & The History Of Viennoiserie

    Cherry Danish - Viennoiserie
    [1] One of the most popular types of Viennoiserie is Danish pastry, typically round with fruit and/or cheese fillings (photo courtesy Visit Denmark).

    Kouign Amann Viennoiserie
    [2] Kouign amann may look like Danish’s country cousin, but the flavor is as royal as it can be (Here’s the recipe from The Kitchn).

    Croissants & Coffee
    [3] Perhaps the most oft-consumed Viennoiserie choice: the croissant (photo courtesy The French Farm).

    Pain au Chocolat
    [4] Pain au chocolat, often called a chocolate croissant in the U.S. It’s croissant dough with chocolate rolled into the dough, which is shaped in a rectangle instead of a crescent. Here’s the recipe from The Bojon Gourmet.

    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Danish

    [5] Today’s recipe: a pumpkin cheese Danish, the breakfast version of pumpkin cheesecake (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

     

    Long before we could say “Viennoiserie” (vee-en-WAH-zuh-ree, meaning “things of Vienna”), we could say “cheese Danish.” We cannot remember a time that cheese Danish was not part of our life.

    Our nana was a big baker of Viennoiserie; and if she didn’t have time, there were bakeries owned by Austrian and German bakers who had immigrated to New York after World War II.
     
     
    WHAT IS VIENNOISERIE?

    Viennoiserie is the category of what is called breakfast pastry in the U.S. It is made with laminated yeast dough or puff pastry. It includes, among other varieties, croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisins and Danish pastry.

    It bridges the gap between bread and pastry.

    White flour is combined with ingredients—eggs, butter, sugar, milk, cream—which create a richer, sweeter flavor than brioche, challah or other sweet breads. Active yeast cultures cause the quick rise of the dough, creating the signature flakiness when it is baked.

    While the laminated dough is known as a pâte viennoise (pot vee-yen-NWAZ, meaning Viennese paste) and originated in Vienna, it grew up in Paris,

    Viennoiserie arrived in Paris between 1838 and 1839 with August Zang, a former Austrian military officer who opened a bakery, Boulangerie Viennoise. He introduced the Viennese techniques which would one day lead to the baguette and the croissant.

    The Viennese style of pastry became a passion in Paris, baked almost everywhere.

    You can explore more pastries in our Pie & Pastry Glossary, and the many varieties of bread in our Bread Glossary.
     
     
    RECIPE: PUMPKIN CHEESE DANISH (PHOTO #5)

    This recipe is from the masterful bakers at King Arthur Flour. It may seem like a lot of steps, but this Danish is something you just can’t find elsewhere.

    Prep time is 60 minutes, bake time is 18-20 minutes.

    The dough needs to be made the night before (through step 3, below), so you can pull it together on a lazy Saturday and have warm Danish for Sunday brunch.

    Ingredients For 12 Danish

    For The Sponge

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  •  
    For The Dough

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 to 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  •  
    For Day 2

  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup) cold unsalted butter for laminating
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel or 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose Flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon cream cheese flavor
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 2 ounces caramel (a scant 1/4 cup, packed, or about 6 individual candies)
  •  
     
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the sponge: Weigh the flour, or measure it by gently spooning it into a measuring cup and sweeping off the excess. Beat together the egg and water then add the sugar, flour, and yeast. Mix until well blended. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

    2. MAKE the dough: Weigh the flour, or measure it by gently spooning it into a measuring cup and sweeping off the excess. When the sponge is ready, combine the sugar, 1-1/4 cups of the flour, dry milk, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

    3. STIR the sweet dough flavor and 1 tablespoon melted butter into the sponge mixture, then add the dry ingredients. Mix and knead until a soft, smooth dough forms, adding the additional 1/4 cup of flour if necessary. Pat the dough into a square on a greased baking sheet, wrap it well, and refrigerate overnight.

    4. PREPARE the butter the next day. Place the butter in the center of a lightly floured piece of plastic wrap. If you’re using two sticks of butter, place them side by side. Pound the butter with a rolling pin until you have a rough 6″ square. Use the plastic wrap to make the edges straight and even. Wrap the butter and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

     

    5. LAMINATE the dough: Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a 9″ square; it doesn’t have to be exact. Unwrap the chilled square of butter and place it in the center of the dough at a 45° angle, so it looks like a diamond in the square. Fold the sides of the dough over the edges of the butter until they meet in the middle. Pinch and seal the edges of the dough together; moisten your fingers with a little water, if necessary.

    6. DUST the top of the dough parcel with a little flour, then turn the dough over and tap it gently with the rolling pin into a rectangular shape. Pick up the dough to make sure it isn’t sticking underneath, dusting with more flour if necessary, then roll from the center out until you have a rectangle 14″ long by 7″ wide. Brush off any excess flour with a dry pastry brush then fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center, and the top third over that (like a business letter). Line the edges up on top of each other, and even up the corners so they’re directly on top of each other. Use a dab of water, if necessary, to get the corners to stick together. This is the first “turn.”

    7. ROTATE the dough parcel 90° to the right: It will look like a book ready to be opened. If the dough is still cool and relaxed, roll and turn it as instructed in the previous step, then wrap it loosely and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If the dough is springing back when you try to roll it, wrap it loosely and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Ultimately the dough should be folded and turned four times, so allow it to rest in the refrigerator as many times as necessary to achieve that. Once the four turns have been completed, wrap the dough loosely and refrigerate it for 60 to 90 minutes.

    8. MAKE the filling: In a small bowl combine the sugar, pumpkin pie spice, ClearJel or flour, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl…

    9. BEAT the cream cheese until smooth. Add the pumpkin and flavor, and beat again until smooth. Mix in the dry ingredients. Set aside.

    10. SHAPE the Danish: Roll the dough into a 14″ x 16″ rectangle; if the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest and relax, loosely covered, in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Trim the edges of the dough on every side using a ruler and pizza wheel. This cuts off the folded edges that would inhibit the pastry from rising fully.

    11. SPREAD the filling over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2″ bare strip along one of the long edges. Brush the bare strip with a little water. Beginning with the covered long edge, roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into 12 slices and place them on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
    Cover the Danish and let them rest/rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°.

    12. BRUSH the Danish with 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water. Bake the Danish—one pan at a time, or in two ovens—for 18 to 20 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown. Remove the Danish from the oven and cool on a rack.

    13. PREPARE the topping: Melt the caramel over low heat in a small saucepan or in the microwave, heating and stirring until smooth. Drizzle some of the warm caramel over each Danish.

    You can store Danish in a plastic bag or an airtight container at room temperature for a day; or wrap well and freeze for longer storage.
     
     
    Making Viennoiserie is a labor of love; but the results are so delicious, you almost forget the labor.

    And, the more you make it, the faster you get.

     

    Danish Pastry
    [1] Danish pastry gives bakers an opportunity to create different variations on a [round] theme (photo courtesy Fika NYC).

    Danish Pastry
    [2] This well shape is popular for Danish with jam and cream cheese (photo Yuri Arcurs | Dreamstime).

    Cheese Danish

    [3] Another classic shape for cream cheese danish. Here’s the recipe from Alexandra Cooks.

     

      

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